Cook’s Choice Muffins
Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson
Sometimes you need a quick energy boost that doesn’t leave you feeling guilty.
And sometimes your food preferences or allergies don’t line up with the ready-made options available, box mixes, or the recipes you find on Pinterest.
One solution to this problem is a recipe I like to call “Cook’s Choice Muffins.”
My husband likes to call them “fiber bombs,” which is descriptive if not complimentary, but they are one of his favorite treats for second breakfast. They’re also a good to-go snack, because they hold together well (which means less mess).
What are they? A hearty muffin loaded with your choice of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and spices. Unlike many muffin recipes that are more sugary cake than breakfast fuel, these have tons of texture in a nutrient-dense, portable package.
The best part is that you can swap out ingredients to change up the flavor. Don’t like raisins? Use other dried fruits. Dates will give the muffins a brown sugary taste, while cranberries will amp up the tart factor. Pecans aren’t your thing? Try finely chopped macadamia nuts – with the pineapple in the batter, you’ll have a Hawaiian delight. Add pumpkin pie spice if you want a more traditional scent wafting through the kitchen as you bake. The options are endless, and you’re limited only by your creativity.
One note: these muffins do not puff up, so whatever you put in the muffin tin is what you will get out. Pack each muffin cup full to overflowing, and you’ll have a dozen LARGE muffins.
Video credit: Zac Ashmore
Cook’s Choice Muffins
2 cups whole wheat flour (or whole grain flour of your choice)
½ cup sugar (up to one cup for sweeter muffins)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp nutmeg
Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds:
1 apple, grated (red or green, with or without peel – cook’s choice!)
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins (regular, golden, or medley – cook’s choice!)
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried blueberries
(or dried cherries, dates, apricots, figs – cook’s choice – for a total of 1 ½ to 2 cups dried fruit)
2 cups grated carrots
8 oz. crushed pineapple drained well
½ cup sunflower seeds (roasted, unroasted, salted, unsalted – cook’s choice!)
½ cup pumpkin seeds (the shelled type, sometimes marketed as pepitas)
½ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, slivered almonds, macadamia nuts – cook’s choice!)
¼ cup chia seeds (optional)
¼ cup ground flax seed (optional)
2/3 cup light olive oil
2 tsp. vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt).
- Add fruits, nuts and seeds. Mix well.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
- Add wet ingredients to large bowl of ingredients. Mix well.
- Spray a muffin/cupcake tin with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners.
- Fill each cup.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
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Tyler Wilson, right, shadowed Dr. Steven Brandon during the 2016 Rural Medical and Science Scholars program. Participants in the program also receive college credit for two pre-med courses, visit various medical facilities, participate in lab-based hands-on learning activities and take part in a communications and study skills workshop. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)